Created on 15.08.2011

The Bank of Latvia has issued a new 1-lats collector coin Riga Money 800. It has been designed by Inta Sarkane and modelled by Jānis Strupulis.

The Bank of Latvia collector coins are miniature works of art dedicated to Latvian treasures: events, achievements, people, and nation's cultural values. To mark the 800th anniversary of Riga money, a coin in coin, i.e. Bishop Albert's silver pfennig on the surface of one silver lats, has been minted. Riga asserted its independence in 1211 when Bishop Albert granted the traders from Gotland the right to mint coins in the Bishopric of Riga. During the archaeological excavations under Ēvalds Mugurēvičs and Anna Zariņa prior to building the Riga hydroelectric power plant, a hearth with 20 identical coins of unknown provenance hidden was unearthed from under the hearth stones at the Mārtiņsala Castle site in 1968. The subsequent studies proved the Bishopric of Riga as the provenance of these coins.

Commencing the celebration of Riga 810th anniversary, a festive event marking the issuance of the coin Riga Money 800 will take place on 16 August 2011 at the House of Blackheads. The event will be attended by Nils Ušakovs, Riga Mayor, artist Laimonis Šēnbergs, Head of the Coin Design Commission of the Bank of Latvia, and Professor Ojārs Spārītis, art historian. The original of the first pfennig (from the collection of the National History Museum of Latvia), often affectionately called by coin experts in its diminutive form Albertiņš, and the new collector coin marking the jubilee of the latter will both be on display at the House of Blackheads.

Riga evokes a variety of associations for different people. For some it is associated with Art Nouveau, others visualise its cobblestone pavements so much praised by national poet Čaks, still others relate it with a port and vessel. The Bank of Latvia has issued around 20 gold and silver coins featuring Riga and its variability at different times. All issued coins will be on display at the House of Blackheads during the Riga Festival.

The silver 1-lats coin Riga Money 800 is legal tender in the Republic of Latvia. The maximum mintage of the coin is limited to 5 000. The coin will be on sale at the Bank of Latvia and such traditional points of coin sale as banks, souvenir and jewellery shops.

For editors
Money in form, collector coins are, in fact, works of art. They are usually made of gold, silver or other precious metals of especially high fineness. As opposed to currency in general circulation, collector coins are usually not intended to be used as a means of payment but as a gift, souvenir or collector's item. Consequently, the price of collector coins is considerably higher than their nominal value.
Since the re-introduction of the lats, the Bank of Latvia has issued 84 collector coins of which many have won awards at the most prestigious international events of coin design art.